Four Exercises for the Holidays

Apr 7, 2023 | Teacher's Corner

These four exercises will be familiar to you from your classes during the year. Read them through carefully before starting and try to do them regularly to keep mobile during the upcoming holidays.

 Group exercise is an extremely effective way to get fit , lose weight and sustain a healthy lifestyle both mentally and physically. There are 7 main benefits of exercising in a Fitness League or other group exercise class;

1. Spine Curls

Lie on your back, knees bent, feet hip distance apart, arms resting on ground next to your body. Neutral spine.

INHALE: to prepare
EXHALE: begin by tilting your pelvis (pubic bone to bellybutton), wheel the spine off the floor one vertebrae at a time lifting your pelvis off the ground leaving the bottom tips of your shoulder blades on the ground
INHALE: hold this position
EXHALE: initiate by softening the breastbone and then continue to wheel the spine back down onto the mat, again moving one vertebrae at a time. Return the pelvis back down onto the mat

Repeat 10x
TIPS: keep collarbones open and neck lengthened; keep equal weight through the feet; keep hip bones level as the pelvis lifts.

BENEFITS: Mobilise the spine and hips

2. Oyster

Lie on one side, lie head on underarm (make sure neck is in line with spine), knees bent to 45 degrees, soles of feet in line with the spine), rest the top hand on the ground in front of you

INHALE: prepare the body
EXHALE: keeping inside rim of feet together, lift the top knee to open the hip (focus on keeping the spine and pelvis still)
INHALE: return the leg to starting position
Repeat 10x each side

TIPS: Remember to prevent the hips from rolling backwards. Focus on keeping the big toe knuckles and heels together, lengthen the top hip so that the pressure of the underneath waist lifts slightly off the mat.

BENEFITS: Hip stability…very good to do after a walk

Easy Exercises for the holidays

3. Side Reach

This can be done sitting (in a long frog…soles of feet together, knees open, feet should be quite a distance from the body to allow a feeling of space in the hip joints) or standing with feet hip distance apart, parallel feet

INHALE: keeping the right arm lengthened and the spine stable, raise the arm out to the side (palm facing fwd) and upwards towards the head (palm faces inwards)
EXHALE: engage abdominals then bend waist towards the left pretending you are moving between 2 sheets of glass
INHALE: hold the position and breathe into the ribcage
EXHALE: engage core and return the spine into upright position and lower the arm
Repeat x 5 both sides

TIPS: Focus on lengthening the spine as you go into the waist bend and as you return it. If standing, keep equal weight on both feet. If sitting, keep equal weight on  both sitting bones. Engage abdominals as you initiate the waist bend.

BENEFITS: Mobilize spine and fire up the obliques

4. Diamond Press

Lie on your tummy, elbows bent with forehead resting on your fingers, elbows resting on the ground, legs are hip distance apart.

INHALE: prepare the body
EXHALE: slide the nose along the ground, lift the head and neck off the ground followed by the chest (remember to keep your boobs on the ground!) Keep pelvis stable by zipping up your tummy. Keep your head and neck long, leave your elbows and hands on the ground. Feel the muscles of the upper back working. OPEN COLLARBONES.
INHALE: maintain the position
EXHALE: return the spine and head sequentially back down to the mat
Repeat x5

TIPS: this is not a big movement… you are aiming to work the muscles of the neck and upper back (thoracic spine) so focus on opening collarbones, rather than lifting high!

BENEFITS: Mobilise the upper back and neck in extension



(Cally Richardson)